“I Am One of Those Virginians Who Needed Medicaid Expansion”

A huge wave of relief washed over Evie, a 27-year-old store clerk and community college student, when she found out that she was automatically enrolled in Virginia’s Medicaid program in November. To her, this was more than a policy change, it was personal.

“I am one of those Virginians who needed Medicaid expansion,” Evie said.

400,000 Virginians now have access to healthcare because of Virginia’s expanded Medicaid program–-and Evie is one of them. Starting January 1, she can go to the doctor when she wants to and get the treatment she needs without worrying how much money she has in the bank.

Evie, on the left, advocating with other community members for Medicaid expansion

Before the General Assembly voted this year to open up our Medicaid program to more people, only pregnant women, working parents, children and disabled people qualified for Medicaid in the Commonwealth. Due to stringent income caps and restrictions, Evie didn’t qualify for Medicaid no matter how meager her earnings were.

A Lifetime Without Decent Healthcare   

Evie has struggled with getting quality healthcare her whole life. Growing up in Louisiana, her blue-collar family had a health insurance policy that only covered catastrophic health conditions and required a $8,000 deductible be met. “I couldn’t get the coverage I wanted because of that deductible,” Evie said

She lives with a few mental health conditions that require regular medication. Evie would go without medication for long periods of time because she couldn’t afford it–-something that always came back to haunt her.   

She moved to Chesterfield County in 2016 and got coverage through the county mental health center. After that policy expired, Evie bought a plan through the Affordable Care Act. Even though Evie could afford to buy health coverage, it still set her back financially. So she spent the early part of 2018 advocating for Medicaid expansion by driving down to the General Assembly to lobby state lawmakers.   

Evie currently works in retail and is studying at John Tyler Community College where she hopes to pursue a career in engineering. She believes more needs to be done to get healthcare to other people who don’t qualify for Medicaid or can’t afford health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. “A lot of people fall through the cracks,” she said.

Fulfilling a Huge Demand for Healthcare in Virginia

The response to Medicaid expansion in Virginia has been overwhelming. So far, 375,000 people have signed up for coverage–-that’s more than expected. The high demand for Medicaid coverage proves that this is something people in Virginia desperately needed. If you qualify for Medicaid coverage, you have until Dec.15 to sign up. Visit coverva.org to find out how!